Monday, 6 February 2012


       Subsistence fishermen in Mambulao badly need government support to help  
       increase their catch. But first, the municipal government should bring up 
       their case to the national government and find out what it can do to help. - 
       MWBuzzpic by ARNEL P HERNANDEZ

DA’s P1.9bil fisheries project: Would it benefit us?

THE MUNICIPAL government of Jose Panganiban should take advantage of a P1.9 billion fisheries program that the Department of Agriculture will launch this year.

With this funding, DA is taking major initiatives that included an integrated, pro-poor and community based fisheries and aquaculture program.

Under the program, about 80 coastal municipalities across the country will benefit as it involves the production of adequate supply of quality, world-class yet affordable fishery and aquaculture products, and at the same time lift small fisherfolk families from abject poverty.

The municipal government of Mayor Ricarte Padilla should find out if Mambulao is among these 80 beneficiary communities. If not, he should exert utmost effort -- his best - to have our community listed.

Being among these 80 communities would help our subsistence fishermen tremendously.

Over the years, their fishing activities have become unsustainable. Many still use the traditional “sud-sud” net which catches even the smallest fish of no economic value. Others use explosives, and in so doing, destroy the coral reef system.

But the most glaring fact is that for decades, our poor fishermen have been dipping into the same economic base which is the Mambulao Bay.

Already, fish catch from the bay has dwindled and the volume could no longer be considered “commercial”. The catch is not enough to meet the needs of big-volume buyers like the “viajeros” and those who trade fish in other parts of the Bicol Region.

In short, our fishermen are just making do with what they could haul from the bay.

In some instances, they have to sail far out into the Philippine Seas or onto other fishing grounds outside our own municipal fishing territory just to have enough catch so they could pay for their fuel and meet the needs of their families.

They are only surviving on a day to day basis.

It is very clear that the number of fishermen has increased over the years and that Mambulao Bay has become overfished. Couple this with the worsening bay pollution caused by indiscriminate gold mining operations in a number of areas around the municipality and the disappearance of mangrove areas and coral reefs.

The P1.9 billion fisheries initiatives of the Department of Agriculture have been designed to fix all this.

For instance, the program will expand and intensify the so-called “fish cage-for-livelihood” program.

Likewise, deforested mangrove areas will be replanted and participating fisherfolk families will be paid up to P5.50 per mangrove (P1.50 for the planting material and P2 for planting and P2 for every tree that survives). This scheme could make a family earn up to K16,000 per hectare.

Further, participating fisher-families would be provided with nets to enclose the mangrove area, making it their own fish growing area.

DA will also set up community-based hatcheries and aquasilvi or mangrove farms to provide poor marginal fisherfolk families with income and employment opportunities and make them self-sufficient.

Under the aquasilvi program, or raising of fish in mangrove areas, participating fishermen will plant mangrove trees and will be trained on how to raise high-value species such as lapulapu (grouper) in tandem with alimango (mudcrabs) and tilapia.

DA said that under this program government money will directly benefit fishermen and their families, create more job opportunities, and importantly result to improving and protecting our aquatic resources.

All this and more are enough reasons for Mayor Dong to lobby, if it’s needed, for the enclosure of Mambulao among these 80 beneficiary fishing communities.

-A P Hernandez


  1. Mayor Padilla should exert all possible means to make Mambulao one of the beneficiaries of this government fishery program. It will be to his name and a legacy to succeeding generations.

    1. what i knew is that hiningi niya ang fish port project early last year nang magkita sila ng DA secretary in connection with the bantay dagat project. in his fb message to my account he said na "baka makasama na this time...". ang problema ng ating fisheries eh it has to compete with mercedes, which is an institutional fish port... the govt's tendency on fishport projects is that kung saan mas gustong dumaong ng mga commercial operators, yon ang priority ng govt na suportahan at idevelop... titingnan din kung ano ang annual fish catch ng isang fishing town if the catch could support the overhead to operate the fish port, which will include a jetty, a breakwater, trading shed, stalls, ice plants cold storage plants, water treatment, water supply, administrative staff and operators...dito pa lang sa mga requirements na ito, tagilid na ang mambulao...